My review is for Monsieur Houbigant Musk After Shave splash. The Houbigant version is several generations old and even though it is an aftershave it is quite bold and crisp in nature. This all time favorite musk opens with a slight dry spice that leads to a green and lightly floral deer musk heart note. Oak moss, tobacco and woods in the base add a dried resinous woody finish. Monsieur Houbigant Musk is a classic old time masculine that has a timeless appeal. The new deer musk parfums and oud/musk artisanal perfumes landing in the market today for a small fortune may be potent and very good, but they fall short of this humble classic masculine "barbershop" musk from years gone by.
Monsieur Musk by Parfums Parquet (1973) has had a strange evolution over the years, from its beginnings as the high-end Monsieur Houbigant in its inception year, to being renamed Monsieur Houbigant Musk a few years later under Parfums Parquet (a lower-tier division of Houbigant at the time) because of the success Jovan Musk for Men had (1973) on the market. This second version saw the musk note Parquet borrowed from sister label Alyssa Ashley increase in richness but little else changed. Finally, when New Dana acquired the old Parquet portfolio from a restructuring Houbigant in the 90's, they got this along with other dime-store classics such as Chantilly (1941). The name "Houbigant" was dropped altogether from the bottle, and the musk note fattened again, along with some pairing down of the composition, creating less of a flanker and more of a streamlined version of the original. The results of these efforts created a dark horse of a musk monster literally risen from the dead husk of its carrier, like a parasitic creature in incubation finally given birth and clawing its way out. Monsieur Musk was also bulletproof against IFRA until they banned lyral, since it only used trace amounts of oakmoss as a heart note, rather than relying on a base of it, meaning reformulations happen more for cost than anything. The interesting thing about Monsieur Musk is just how much of a dichotomy between clean and dirty it is, with lurid feminine florals dancing naked alongside animalic spices, tobacco, and a musk note that's halfway yellow and halfway white, like a "soiled laundry" musk. Modern Dana butchers most things they own into unrecognizable zombies of their former selves, and Monsieur Musk is really no exception to that rule. However, if you choose to try new stock, you'll still end up on eBay looking for some anyway because no stores carry this stuff anymore outside mom and pop shops or mall kiosks.
It's no surprise that Monsieur Musk ends up feeling like the trashy trailer park cousin to the inner city-savvy Jovan Musk for Men (1973), which itself is still rather blue collar, but fancies itself a ladies man stuck in an era where high collars and long Cadillacs were appealing to the opposite sex, since Monsieur Musk's retrofitted nature has it pulling up in a pea green Ford Pinto blaring Foghat from the 8-track player, wearing a pair of Lee dungarees and a denim jacket from Woolworth and a tuxedo T-shirt promising you a wild night at his friend's club basement. Monsieur Musk doesn't try to fake class, and rather just revels in not having any. The scent of Monsieur Musk opens with bergamot and a very powdery "fake rose" note just like the kind used in the pink Dove bar, and itself is a composite of rose, carnation, muguet, and heliotrope. There's galbanum here but not enough to pull this out of grandma's face powder, and a slightly off-putting sulfuric smell that fades in a few moments but results from the overdosed Alyssa Ashley musk profile. Before long, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin and a puff of oakmoss make their presence known, tossing a pair of dirty knackers right over your face, but that pink Dove bar above combined with the synthetic musk below offer a glimmer of hope to escape. This laundry musk fills in the gaps with a light tobacco dusting and smooths over the spicy floral cacophony above, leaving a finish of powdery florals and heavy musk over the exposed naughty bits of the heart. Sillage is positively apocalyptic if applied in more than 2 sprays or splashes, plus longevity is until the end of days so be fully prepared to scrub with a loofah when done being shagged on the shag carpet by it. This stuff is really not for hot weather either, so if you live in southern areas, you may want to sample first and skip out on this one altogether unless you have air conditioning in that wood-paneled club basement, because it becomes downright choking in high humidity above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monsieur Musk is definitely not worthy of a black tie event, nor would something that's basically a "naughty barbershop" feel right in the modern club scene, where everyone holds onto their youth and sexual prowess in vain regardless of their age by way of following trends to stay "relevant", so your best bet is to wear it on your own terms and drive that conversion van with pride. I like being provocative by taking it to work in the winter, and I've gotten a surprising number of compliments, so this musk still has some traction in the 21st century, even with its heart-shaped rear windows. I'm not super fond of the musk genre overall, but Monsieur Musk proves to be an air-brushed cheap thrill that's really fun to wear in the right weather. I like the floral dandy aspects of the scent coupled with it's roided muscular chest middle and disco-era hip swagger in the base, which are all aesthetics that appeal to me in ways inappropriate for this review. As a side note, Alyssa Ashley Musk (1968) is this scent's mother, so if you want a more civilized floral take, look there. Monsieur Houbigant has more bergamot and florals with lavender and an oakmoss base not in later versions, being a contemporary to Royal Copenhagen (1970), while Monsieur Houbigant Musk is the happy medium, with a bigger musk base and the oakmoss moved up to the heart, but with more complex florals kept intact outside the removed lavender. Many consider all 3 just chains of reformulation, but they're too different to me for that judgment, so I consider them all complete re-orchestrations instead. lastly, the only way to get anything like this now is via Perris Monte Carlo Musk Extrême (2012), which through weird corporate kismet, is the inheritor of the unique musk DNA here. Thumbs up
Fresh greens over luscious deep musk. Very sensual and thoroughly enjoyable in a variety of situations. The original Houbigant issue is a richer blend with more oakmoss, while the Dana issue is a bit lighter and fresher. Longevity is 7-10 hours on me for both versions. Not bad for such a nice, inexpensive fragrance!
Oddly, my most recent bottles of Monsieur Musk state on the box: "Oil from USA blended and packaged in China". This is for the 4oz splash cologne which I prefer. I don't ever recall another fragrance of mine ever being made in China? Hmmmmm....
Dana has actually been very good at capturing the Monsieur Musk cologne.The only note I detect that's been changed is the rose petal has been turned down a little.
Monsieur Musk starts out with a very white soapy and green mossy accord very akin to Grey Flannel(the green note).Some sweetened spice,rose crossed with red wine,and a light tone of musk surfaces through the soap and the green vibe notches back some.If you put it beside Van Cleef & Arpel's Pour Homme you'd be at the counter all day debating which one you liked more.If you dressed formally to work every day?one might be able to pull this off.It's more of a night out with the wife or girlfriend cologne.
The amazing thing about the original cologne is that it is a very, very slightly tweaked version of the oh-so-famous and oh-so-rare Ambergris by Houbigant/Alyssa Ashley. Women go completely mad on Ebay auctions trying to buy the version labelled "Ambergris" (there is one listing now that starts at $595). What they don't seem to understand is that Monsieur Musk in its vintage form is the exact same fragrance.
I have had and worn both scents for many years and they are nearly identical. Neither one has anything to do with musk, really, but are instead gorgeous, complex and spicy, green chypre-ish frags that hearken back to a different era. In fact, MM smells quite a bit like vintage Mitsouko, minus any fruity sweetness. It also smells even more like vintage Dioressence.
A fascinating, long-lasting, and cheap-o find (in the original Houbigant form).